Kylian Mbappe he bites the curse of the world champions, chews it and ends up swallowing it with his mouth wide open. Neither the bad luck nor the numerous injuries that it carries do not slow down a France that does not need to shine to add six points in the first two days and become the first team qualified for the round of 16 of this Qatar World Cup. Defeated Denmark (1 point) will now have to play qualifiers against Australia (3) and Tunisia (1) on Wednesday in the epilogue of the group stage.
Spain, Germany, Italy and the aforementioned France had been eliminated after lifting football’s most prized trophy four years earlier. Deschamps’ selection is now avoiding this fate with solvency, clinging to the voracity ofa Mbappé who did not need to play a huge game to score two goals and equal Enner Valencia as provisional player of the tournament. France have things to improve, but now they have room to do so as they are even, virtually, first in their group.
France won but can’t boast much. Dembélé tried on the side again and again, this time accompanied by Koundé, who relieved Pavard compared to the first match (Varane also came in for Konaté in the center of defense). It was the most destabilizing element ofa France that ignored all its threats and that lacked one more marchmaybe two, to overwhelm Denmark in other facets of the game.
Little of Griezmann
To a good extent, because Griezmann barely appeared in the hybrid position he plays in France, sometimes interior, other times midfielder, on occasions almost in parallel with Giroud. He felt that Deschamps put more emphasis in the preparation of the duel on positioning himself well against the Danish scheme with five defenders than on the mechanisms necessary to overcome it.
So little happened in the first half at the 974 Stadium. Varane came closest to scoring, heading home a corner, saving Maehle’s goal when Schmeichel was already beaten. And the Danish goalkeeper showed off against another aerial attempt by the Gauls, this time from Rabiot. But little more history could be told.
Something changed after the break. Either Denmark voluntarily advanced their lines or, more likely, France had the ability to force them to do so. The fact is that Deschamps’ team knew how to build these spaces that they use so well to increase the revolutions of the hot afternoon on the shores of the Persian Gulf.
Mbappé warned with a ride, then Griezmann had a free kick that he sent into the already completely dark skies of Doha. And finally, when it was time for the match, he was the star of the PSG who, after a wall with Theo Hernández, shot Schmeichel from inside the area to break the initial 0-0.
The most difficult thing for France was done… but they squandered it in just seven minutes. It was from a corner, an art that the Danes have mastered, that was settled by Christensen’s relentless header against a passive Rabiot, after Andersen completed a precise extension in the heart of the area.
The game looked set to restart, with France again opting to hang balls into the box to rely on their aerial play, but Denmark were in control, with two good chances from Lindstrom and Braithwaite, who entered the field after the break.
The initiative, however, was French, and ended up certifying a triumph just four minutes from the end of regulation time. Griezmann crossed from the right and Mbappé came in like an airplane to finish with whatever he could, which in this case was the thigh. A goal, the second of the night, which is worth a qualification for the eighth and an opportunity for Deschamps to regulate the effort of his players in the last game against Tunisia.